How does the mood of Romeo and Juliet change during act 3?

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lizbv eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The mood of the play in Acts 1 and 2 very greatly from Act 3, at which point the plot is shocked back into the world of the feud. In Act 1, Romeo is heartbroken at the thougt of not having his Rosaline, while Juliet tells her mother that marriage is "an honor" she has not thought of (Act 1).  This full distance between their lives serves to enhance the passionate exchanges they hold in the final scene of Act I into the balcony scene in Act 2. . In Act 2, we see the two arranging their wedding with the help of Friar Laurence and the Nurse. If nothing else, the mood can best be described as hopeful here, as stated by Friar Laurence when he states that he hopes the union will serve to end the feud.

Act 3 presents the dramatic twist of events. The harsh reality of the feud is brought back to the forefront with the deaths of Mercutio and Tybalt, and the tragedy is further enhanced by Romeo's banishment by the Prince for his role in the deaths. The hopeful mood has been washed away and replaced by the violent and desperate mood of Act 3's events.